Home Sales Fell in 2019, But Prices Reached Record Levels

Single-family home sales in Lynn fell slightly last year. But there was no relief from rising prices as buyers paid a premium for a piece of the American Dream. 

For the third consecutive year, home sales fell modestly last year to 651, down from 656 in 2018, a nearly 1 percent drop, according to The Warren Group, the Peabody-based real estate market tracker and publisher of Banker & Tradesman. 

When compared to 2017, sales are off by 4 percent. But as sales continued to slip, the median price for a single-family home has reached record levels. 

“I’d say prices are up by as much as 20 percent in the last four years,” said Colleen Toner,  broker-owner of Toner Real Estate LLC. “The lack of inventory continues to drive prices up.” 

At press time, there were just two dozen single-family homes listed on the MLS Property Information Network, the state’s largest listing company based in Shrewsbury. During the peak, there were more than 200 homes for sale, agents recalled.

The lowest price is an eight-room, two-bath home on Woodlawn Street for $274,900. At the high end is a new 2,607-square-foot Colonial on Judge Road that features three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a two-car garage for $819,900.

Toner said the lack of homes for sale is the result of Lynn residents choosing to stay put.

The buyers, she said, are a mix of families who are seeking more space and first timers who are hoping to trade their apartment for a home.

“We’re seeing buyers from Lynn who are trading up and others from closer to Boston who see Lynn as more affordable,” Toner said.  

Last year, the median home price in the city reached $375,000, the highest level since records have been kept. That’s up by nearly 9 percent in 2018, and up 17 percent since 2017 when the median was $319,500.

Condominiums are less expensive and sales in Lynn increased by double digits in 2019 while prices continued to rise.

The number of condos sold reached 229 last year, up from 180 in 2018, a 27-percent increase. Median condo sales prices rose by 13 percent to $275,000. That’s up from $242,250 in 2018. 

Still, there are very few choices for potential condo buyers. 

There were just 17 condos listed last week from a one-bedroom on Hamilton Avenue for $147,400 to $549,000 for a waterfront condo on the Lynnway with sweeping ocean and Boston skyline views that offers 2,304 square feet of space with three bedrooms and underground parking. 

Toner said she doesn’t expect home prices to ease in 2020. She predicted robust sales, in part due to lower mortgage interest rates. 

Last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record 3.2 percent, the lowest level in its nearly 50-year history, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey which has tracked rates since 1971. “The low rates offsets the rise in home prices,” Toner said.

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